FBI raids Jeffrey Epstein’s Caribbean island following financier’s death


FBI agents have raided Jeffrey Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean, in a further sign the death of the wealthy financier will not halt scrutiny into his alleged sex trafficking crimes.

Mobile phone footage, broadcast by NBC news, showed agents arriving on Little Saint James, in the US Virgin Islands, on Monday morning.

Two senior law enforcement officials confirmed to NBC the FBI had started searching Epstein’s private island home.

They said the search was being directed by the Epstein taskforce, led by the US attorney’s office for the southern district of New York.

Kelly Quinn, the owner of Salty Dog Day Sails, who was running a sailing charter in the area, told the broadcaster: “We were just trying to look at pretty fish and swim with turtles and here we are in the middle of an FBI raid. This has been something on our radar for years. We’re all really curious why it’s happening now.”

Anger

The raid came two days after the billionaire was found dead in a New York City jail cell, having apparently taken his own life. In the aftermath of his death, accusers expressed anger Epstein would not be forced to face them in court. They sought reassurances authorities would continue investigations into others who might have been involved in a trafficking ring that targeted young girls for sexual abuse.

In response, William Barr, the US attorney general, said on Monday that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy. Victims deserve justice and will get it.”

Geoffrey S Berman, the Manhattan US attorney, said in a statement: “To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains ongoing.”

Evidence

David Weinstein, a white collar criminal defence attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson and former federal prosecutor in Miami, previously said that Epstein’s death could actually lessen potential issues with evidence. This could explain the timing of the raid.

Now that he’s dead, he can’t challenge that – all of that becomes fair game

“The evidence that they’ve seized from him directly, the only person who can contest the seizure [as unlawful] could be Epstein or somebody who lived with him,” Mr Weinstein said.

“Now that he’s dead, he can’t challenge that – all of that becomes fair game.”

The Manhattan US attorney’s case against Epstein for alleged sexual abuse of girls as young as 14 includes charges of sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy. Language in the indictment alleges Epstein “worked and conspired with others, including employees and associates who facilitated his conduct” in luring girls to his Manhattan and Palm Beach homes between 2002 and 2005.

– Guardian



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